LETSHUOER S12 Planar IEM

General Information

LetShuoer S12

S12 is Hi-Fi Earphones to creat for music lovers. Whatever its neat and fashion design or its sound effect is strictly polished. It will be your best companion for daily music hours.

Featured:
Custom 14.8mm Planar Driver
Silver plated monocrystalline copper cable


Description
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Specifications

ModelS12
DriversLETSHUOER Custom 14.8mm planar
Frequency Response20Hz – 20KHz
Distortion
Cable
Connector3.5mm single ended and 4.4mm balanced jack
Plug0.78mm dual pin
Case MaterialALUMINIUM ALLOY

Additional information
Cable Termination options:
3.5mm, 4.4mm

Choose color
Frosted Silver, Nebula Grey,


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© 2022 LETSHUOER

Latest reviews

Ichos

Reviewer at hxosplus
Do it like a pro (LETSHUOER S12 PRO)
Pros: + Balanced and musical sound signature
+ Great technicalities for the price
+ Good sub-bass extension
+ Punchy and dynamic bass
+ Very engaging and colorful mid-range
+ Sparkling but relatively smooth treble
+ Open and airy soundstage
+ Lightweight, discreet and comfortable
+ High quality modular cable with swappable plugs
+ Plenty of ear-tips
+ Nice carrying case
+ Excellent build quality
Cons: - Bass can sound a little hollow
- Treble is not that resolving and refined
- Slightly metallic treble timbre
- Soundstage is lacking in depth layering
- The cable is thick and heavy
The review sample was kindly provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
I didn't receive monetary or any other kind of compensation and I don't use affiliate links.
The regular price of the S12 PRO is $169 but you can find it as low as $135.20.
You can order yours from the LETSHUOER online shop.

LETSHUOER S12 PRO

LETSHUOER is a China based company run by expert audio engineers and keen audiophiles that makes custom and universal in-ear monitors while they have recently expanded their line of products to include a mini-sized USB DAC dongle.

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The S12 PRO is the company’s 6th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of the original S12 that was a big success and made LETSHUOER wider known to the audiophile world.
The PRO edition comes with an upgraded custom 14.8mm planar magnetic driver which has a 102db high sensitivity that means that it can be easily driven by a cell phone or dongle DACs.
The chassis design is a continuation of the predecessor.
Multiple vent holes on both sides are effective in alleviating negative pressure build up within the ear canal and thus protecting your hearing.
The independent rear acoustic chamber design makes channel matching to be more consistent. In terms of sound performance, the structural design of the front and rear acoustic chamber effectively discharges the pressure inside the chassis, thereby attaining a more natural sound.
Furthermore a new nozzle filter was used to achieve a minor tuning update.

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Cable

The stock cable of LETSHUOER S12 PRO is constructed with silver-plated monocrystalline copper and 4x98-strands cores that are weaved together.
It is terminated with standard 0.78mm dual pin connectors while the other end has a swappable jack with 2.5mm, 3.5mm and 4.4mm plugs.
The metallic plugs get attached to the cable with a push and click action which is not as secure and durable as the screw system.
The cable is of good quality with low microphonic noise and it doesn't get easily tangled but it is too thick and heavy.

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Accessories

The package includes standard, transparent and memory foam ear tips at three sizes each and a faux-leather carrying case of good quality.

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Build quality and fit

The S12 PRO has a minimalistic industrial appearance with a smooth space-blue finish and excellent workmanship.
The compact, aluminum made earshells are lightweight and anatomically shaped so they can fit comfortably and tight offering a relaxed wearing experience with good passive noise attenuation.

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Associated gear

The S12 PRO was left playing music for about 100 hours in order to break in.
Various sources were used like the iBasso DC03 Pro, iFi Go bar, Questyle M15, Shanling M0 Pro, and FiiO M11S among others.
The earphones are easy to drive so you are not going to need a very powerful source but make sure to use something decent because the S12 PRO scales pretty well.

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Listening impressions

The overall tuning is balanced and natural with good sub-bass extension, an even mid-range and a well extended but not fatiguing treble.
The S12 is a slightly warm and very enjoyable set of earphones that balances its sound signature between sounding reference and musical while retaining good levels of transparency and technicalities.

The well extended bass has a near neutral tuning without over emphasizing the mid-bass so it doesn't cloud the rest of frequencies and leaves plenty of free space for the mids to shine.
Clarity, layering and definition are above average while the bass is tight, fast and controlled with good timing.
It is well contrasted and dynamic, impactful and weighty but it can sound a little hollow and a touch dry.
With a near reference tuning and a good suit of technicalities, the bass is one of the S12 PRO strongest points.

Equally strong is the mid range which is very well tuned with great coherency and a touch of a tasty upper-mids emphasis that adds some flavor without leading into sibilance and excessive projection.
There is plenty of harmonic wealth and realism, the timbre is natural and colorful with great chromatic variety, you can hear the uniqueness of every singer's voice and single instrument.
The S12 PRO is resolving, crystal clear and transparent in the mid-range with a natural voicing that is combined with the already excellent bass performance to make for an immersive and realistic listening experience perfectly suitable for classical music and not only.

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The treble on the S12 PRO is well extended and clear with good detail retrieval that doesn't resort into becoming analytical.
There is plenty of energy here and a touch of brilliance but only as much as is needed for giving a shining and luminous character to the sound never crossing the point to harshness and stridency.
You can listen for hours on without feeling listening fatigue even with poorly recorded or already bright material.
What happens though is that the timbre is just a touch metallic and artificial while the S12 PRO is not that resolving and refined in the treble as in the mid range.

The soundstage is wide and spacious with good positioning accuracy but it is mostly expanded in the horizontal axis without any significant depth layering and holographic relief.
Nonetheless it manages to stay free of congestion with plenty of air around the performers even during the most demanding symphonic and choral works.

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Compared to the TinHifi P1 MAX (From $129 to $99)

The P1 MAX from TinHifi is another example of a budget friendly earphone with a planar magnetic driver that has an admittedly great audio performance for the price.
The original price is $129 but you can find it as low as $99 so it is considerably cheaper than the S12 PRO but it comes with a simple detachable cable without modular plugs and with a plain pouch instead of a carrying case.
The resin ear-shells are anatomically shaped and lightweight but considerably bulkier than that of the S12 PRO.

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The P1 MAX is considerably smoother tuned and subdued from the upper-midrange to the treble so it sounds more inoffensive and forgiving than the S12 PRO.
The sub-bass on the P1 MAX rolls a little earlier while the bass is leaner and drier sounding but with a touch of extra control and clarity compared to the S12 PRO which is fuller and weightier but more hollow and looser.
The S12 PRO has the upper hand when it comes to dynamic contrast and bass impact while soundstage is a draw, the P1 MAX is somewhat narrower and less open but it has a sharper imaging and more accurate positioning.
Two great earphones to get you into the planar magnetic sound without spending a fortune.

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In the end

The S12 PRO is a great step into the planar magnetic sound at a very reasonable price.
It has a balanced, reference type tuning with plenty of musicality and good technicalities while it is lightweight, comfortable and it comes with a modular cable and a carrying case.

Test playlist

Copyright - Petros Laskis 2023.
Last edited:
CT007
CT007
The treble looks fairly elevated & intense(the reason I avoided these):

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Ichos
Ichos
Graphs can only roughly explain what is really happening during listening.
I don't find the treble fatiguing, bright or harsh.
It has plenty of energy and air, it is luminous but in no way intrusive and intensive.
Of course you might be more sensitive than I am to this region but you should remember that I don't like bright, unforgiving and analytical stuff and the S12 PRO is not.

3 to 5 kHz is the critical region and as the graph suggests it is well tuned.
The brilliance range is composed entirely of harmonics and is responsible for sparkle and air of a sound.
It is boosted here but it mainly adds some kind of a metallic - artificial hue to the treble that being fatiguing.

If you are too sensitive you should give the P1 MAX a try instead of the S12 PRO.

Dsnuts

Headphoneus Supremus
LetShuoer S12 Pro
Pros: Solid comfortable CNC machined aluminum alloy housing
Smaller side of medium in shell size will fit most
Good variety of accessories including
modular silver plated monocrystalline copper cable
Modern detailed focused V shaped tuning
Highly technical with very good imaging
Tight, clean detailed sound.
Easy to drive but sounds better with some power
Speedy tight sound signature
Cons: Intimate stage
Not the best for vocal lovers
Treble can get a touch spicy
A bit more analytical in presentation than musical
Not the best timbre for purists.
LETSUOER S12Pro
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Planar IEMs seem to be what's hot nowadays. With just about every manufacturer using a type of planar magnetic driver for IEMs. For LETSHUOER, the planar IEM is not new but it is always a good sign for a manufacturer to reevaluate a design and improve a release for their audience.

The planar craze is in full swing and for a good reason. It seems Planar based IEMs are here to stay. What is interesting about Planar tech is that it is not relegated for the uber rich. You can get planar IEMs fairly cheaper nowadays. The technology was readily used for headphones for years but the planar IEM as of now has become very popular among enthusiasts.
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Planar IEMs seem to have a level of detail that is uncommon at their price points. I equate Planar ability and its sound to be somewhere in between the well established balanced armatures and a traditional highly resolving dynamic driver. It has the imaging and transient qualities of today's top Balance Armatures but has the cohesion and timbre more closer to that of a highly resolving dynamic driver. When balanced and tuned correctly you get a remarkable highly resolving detailed sound from a Planar IEM.

The S12 and the S12 pro have already been established as one of the better planar IEMs in the market. I have seen numerous praises of its sound ability and it was only a matter of time I got my nitty gritty hands and ears on them.
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With that I would like to thank Nuria of Letshuoer. The S12pros was provided for the purpose of a review, they have been burned in for a period of a week's time and are now ready for evaluation using my sources Fiio K9 pro ESS, IBasso DX300Max, Fiio M15, Fiio BTR7, Shanling M6 pro, IFI Gryphon, IFI Signature. You can get a set for you on their home sales pages here.
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So what are the differences between the S12 and the S12 pro model?
I asked about the changes from the prior S12 model vs the Pro model and this was what I got as a response. “ S12 pro got a new color, new cable, nozzle filter for minor tuning change. But basically they are very similar.”

What is important here is that they got a new nozzle filter change and a more transparent cable pairing. As I understand it, thicker material for the nozzle creates a minor lowering for the upper mids and treble region of the sound tuning. Minor as in give or take 2-3 dbs of change. So it seems the Pro model has a better balancing vs their prior S12. This is just a guess on my part but I am going to assume the newer pro version is what Letshuoer is pushing nowadays.
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What you get/build
The S12 pro comes in an all-aluminum CNC machined medium sized universal housing in 2 pin configurations. Now with a new metallic blue color. It is housing a large 14.8mm planar diaphragm. The newer pro version seems to have an upgraded cable to go along with it being a silver-plated monocrystalline copper cable that comes with modular plugs in every termination you could use for your sources. They get two sets of silicone tips, one set is standard, and one set called transparent, 3 pairs of foams. Lastly comes with an oval shaped faux leather zip up case.
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I am familiar with aluminum alloy builds as really there are 4 types of housings in the industry. All Resin, plastic and the metal housings or a combination of these. The metal housing, which has the benefit of being physically stronger, are mass produced and stamped out for retail applications and can house all manner of drivers. The shape is a bit triangularish but ergonomic and will fit most ears just fine. The only issue with its design is that it has a relatively shorter nozzle that will not be perfect for all ears shapes and sizes. Due to its smaller side of medium in size it will be comfortable but I have a feeling larger ears will have some difficulty fitting deep due to the shorter nozzle size, so tip rolling is a must. Otherwise its build is what you would expect at the price point. As long as they stay dry they should last the test of time without any issue. 2 pin design goes without saying, seems to be an ever increasing number of 2 pin designs vs the mmcx for IEMs nowadays.
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Its included cable is nice and certainly of good quality however I am not so certain this would have been the best cable choice for the S12 pros sound signature. I do cable reviews so I have a good insight into what type of cables matches up with certain types of sound signatures. It's not that their monocrystalline silver plated cable is of a bad quality, on the contrary it is a very nice included cable and even better with modularity. However the S12 pro is a highly detailed v shaped tuning meaning it has more upper mids and treble and bass vs the mid presence in its signature. Just by the nature of its tuning and resolution it will be slightly brighter in tonal character.
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Then Letshuoer throws in a more resolving cable on top of a nicely resolving tuning on a resolving planar driver. Best synergy with cable matchups you gotta go the opposite vs what the tuning is. A brighter highly detailed signature means these need a nice pure copper cable to counter what all that detail is doing. That's just my take on it but believe me Letshuoer is not the only manufacturer that is guilty of this. I have reviewed numerous IEMs from a lot of different manufacturers and sometimes your most resolving cable is not actually optimizing the sound of your IEMs. It enhances a sound tuning but if the tuning and tech involved is already that resolving. How about adding a bit of warmth and adding some note weight using thicker copper cores for the cable to add some musicality, some added fullness to mids and bass vs highlighting the technicalities and enhancing upper mids and treble aspects of the tuning.

In using a newer nozzle filter that is what Letshuoer is doing to create a newer “pro” version by lowering these aspects for better balance but then you throw on a more resolving silver plated monocrystalline copper cable? You see what I am getting at? I suppose you have to be really into your cable pair ups to fully understand what I am talking about. Bright +more resolving cable = Brighter.

What they should have done is Bright+ warm copper note weight enhancing cable = synergy.
The reason why I bring this up is due to my testing with the S12 pro using a myriad of other cables and it is a pure copper cable these IEMs needs not so much what was included. My review here is of course based on what was included. Just know these have way better potential than what Letshuoer is showing you out of the box.
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Technicals.
S12 pro is a highly technical resolving set. While the tuning is v in shape it has a detail aspect to its tuning that clearly takes advantage of the ability of the transducer it is using. Planars are known for their detail, quick transients with a snappy decay of notes. This is the case for the S12 pro. I noticed the S12 pro has some extra treble tuning and while it is balanced fairly well the treble extension of the S12 pro means you get a full treble end with not much roll off.
Imaging, sound separation and details are especially a stand out for the S12 pro. But what I found a bit lacking here for such a highly technical sound was the one aspect that prevents the S12 pro from becoming big time. That is its moderate sound staging. Its stage is more in your head than actually projecting outside of it. It has a moderate amount of depth for sound as well. Add in a bit of a thinner mids note weight and you get all the highly detailed and technical aspects that stand out but a bit short when it comes to the overall presentation of the sound.
Its timbre is debatable but is not exactly ideal as its decay of instruments and vocals is almost too quick. Making music sometimes sound a bit dry and not exactly realistic at the same time. However the detail aspects are a stand out for the S12 pro that is really not too common for IEMs at this price range. If you're a detail freak I can understand why you would want to look into an IEM like the S12 pro.
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Trebles
The trebles are represented well in all 3 parts of its treble presentation and seem to be the focus of the S12 pro tuning. Trebles have a fairly longer shelf from about 5Khz-8Khz which brings a lot of treble presence to your tracks. This is the reason why the S12 pro sounds so detailed. Its extended treble response is some of the better I have heard but at the same time if you are listening to tracks with a lot of synthetic treble notes, EDM and hip hop and the like. You will hear them treble notes with full strength of the treble accents that accompany this type of music. I would have liked to see the treble tuning here just a bit lowered and we are talking about 2 dbs and that would have balanced out the treble presence for better versatility.

However if you're listening to a lot of acoustic and orchestral scores that is where this particular treble tuning benefits as you will hear all the little details from the trebles that you want to hear. So I suppose it will be more genre and music preference that will sway you one way or the other how you hear the S12 pro. The S12 pro in return sounds a bit analytical at times with a bit of brightness edge to the overall presentations due to the ample trebles. Trebles is well represented and is as extended as you want to actually get for your IEM use. Trebles for the most part are clean, crisp and very snappy transient qualities presenting a very detail oriented design for the S12 pro.
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Mids
Takes a step back in the balancing of the S12 pro but it is more neutral lower mids vs being anything overly recessed. It has plenty of upper mids emphasis for good clarity. I would have liked to see just a smidge less upper mids on the S12 pro and as I understand it the prior S12 actually had a bit more so. Those would have clearly tipped this sound to be more analytical leaning and brighter. As they are, the S12 pro has good balancing to its sound performance for a V tuned IEM. Another aspect I appreciate about the S12 pro is that since it is using a single driver for its sound, it does not have any issues with cohesion. A seamless sound is something designers have to contend with for hybrids and tribrids that vary with how well they are cohesive.

While the general note weight for the mids presentation is leaning more neutral in all things presence and forwardness, the main reason why I suggest folks try your favorite copper based cables is that it does add a better fullness for the mid bands the stock cable does not do. In testing out a bunch of my own cables I continuously notice better thicker note weight using other cables. Vocals especially you will hear a benefit from switching out cables. As they are, music sounds a bit on the thin. If you're a mid lover and need a forward full mid range the S12 pro does not exactly have a mid forward sound. Its tonal character is a touch bright due to ample upper mids and lower treble. Its speedy transient quality applies to the mids bands and this will be the greatest part of contention among purists.
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S12 pros certainly sound like a higher end IEM or one's idea of a higher end IEM but if you're really looking for realism, especially timbre with a proper note decay and a richer tonal character. S12 pro has the detail aspect down pat if not bringing a chiseled detailed aspect to its sound but is not exactly realistic. Some call it the planar timbre. I don’t associate its timbre aspects to be supreme but they certainly are not bad at the same time.

Overall the mids imaging, its detail and instrument separation aspects are all stand outs and while it lacks a certain emotive quality for the vocals and instruments it makes up for it with a nuanced ghost like detail at times that clearly shows how resolving the sound is. This one is more or less for detail freaks. You like your highly resolving sound these will deliver in spades but it does lack a roundness and fullness to the notes you are hearing.
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Bass
Bass of the S12 pro is somewhat of an acquired taste. It certainly balances out the sound of the S12pro and again that cohesion with a good decent bass punch certainly helps the cause for the S12 to be more versatile than most highly detailed IEMS. Bass is more moderate and shows good focus for its sound balancing. I would say bass is fairly tight and has decent definition overall with almost a BA like speed but it is that planar transient qualities that prove to be not as realistic as a well vented dynamic when it comes to bass. Speed folks would love planar bass but at the same time. Sub bass lacks a realistic texture but given that this large planar is handling all parts of the sound at once it's certainly not a bad bass presentation. Bass is roughly even with the treble presence and it's got a good range for bass notes and variations of the low notes. Bass does a great job supporting the mids and trebles of the S12 pro but it's certainly not a featured aspect for the S12 pro tuning. To be fair the bass end is tuned well and has decent reach in the sub bass. It's got a touch more sub bass presence vs its mid bass and overall It is more of a complimentary type of bass. Where it lacks a realism for the bass due to the given properties of planar tech for IEMs it makes up for n sheer speed and a tighter decay of notes that ends up making the bass notes clean and a bit more precise sounding.
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This is yet another aspect where cable experimentation will help out for bass using a good copper based cable. Bass sounds much more alive with a copper based cable vs what was included. Again the stock cable seems to lean more on details and transparency which also has the effect of leaning out the notes a touch in the process. You probably already own a decent set of 2 pin copper cables from your other IEMs; don't be afraid to give those a try on the S12 pro. It just might surprise you. In my testing, the tuning and the resolve of the S12 pro is very detailed from the get go so sacrificing a bit of that by introducing a copper based cable actually synergizes better with the S12 pro sound profile. You're tilting the cable influence from its trebles and upper mids to bass and its lower mids. Which ultimately balances out the sound better adding greater note weight vs the ultimate detail aspects of its included cable.

If you want to keep that detail aspect of the S12 pro. Try a thicker 8 cored SPC or silver plated copper cable instead. Which will keep all the details of the S12 pro but also add that copper fullness musical element to its tuning better than the stock cable.
This is all subjective of course. If you feel the S12 pro sound presentation is ideal for you out of the box then that my friend is up to you.
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In the end
The S12 pro has been a nice surprise for me. This being my very first IEM I have reviewed from Letshuoer. I can understand why there is a following for the S12 and the pro model. It has a solid all metal build with a very easy to use shape. Includes a nice cable with modularity albeit in my opinion is the wrong match up with its sound profile but a high quality cable nonetheless.
Its tuning caters to enthusiasts as it seems to be tuned to focus a bit more on its trebles which is more difficult to do than mids or bass. The clean tonal character helps with just how detailed and precise the presentation can get and while it leans more towards an analytical edge for its sound foundation it has just enough musicality with a good punchy bass presence that caps off a well tuned Planar IEM. For the asking price for a set, these are a good value and an excellent gateway to planar IEMs. Thanks for taking the time to read and if you already own the S12 pro or planning on getting a set. Don’t be afraid to try your other cables to pair up with them. I feel they can sound even better with the right cable matched up with its highly detailed sound signature. Happy listening always.
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Last edited:
Dsnuts
Dsnuts
Ya it is the pro. Decided to not start a new item for the S12. Pro version is the same with a new nozzle filter and cable. So not really too much different.
Bitsir
Dsnuts
Dsnuts
Nozzle filters generally dampens the upper mids, lower trebles a bit and in doing so will usually bring better balancing. But then Letshuoer added a cable that brightens the tonality. It is that saying one step forward and two steps back. From other reviews I have seen. Arkos especially mentions the older version being brighter vs the newer Pro. Wish I could have heard the older one. Either way I was told they are more similar than different from their rep.

ChrisOc

Headphoneus Supremus
Letshouer S12 Pro - For the enjoyment of good quality music.
Pros: Solid Aluminium Alloy build.
Very good cable with modular plugs.
Good set of accessories included, tons of eartips and a well built case.
Very good sound quality, resolution, and presentation of music.
Cons: Isolation is average.
A touch more sub-extension would have been nice, but not a fault, just preference.
Intro
Which Planer Magnetic earphones deliver for you? Planar drivers are extremely capable drivers and there is currently an avalanche of Planar earphones on the market. I had the pleasure of listening to the S12, the original Letshouer planar earphones, lent to me by a kind friend. Good fun! Do the S12 Pros deliver?

Disclosure
The S12 Pros were sent to me by Letshouer, free of charge and, in return, I undertook to review them, if to me, they are worth the time invested in reviewing them. I have never been paid by anyone to review anything. Reviewing is a hobby for me. I spend so much time with the items I review that if I do not like them, I do not review them. That might explain to some why I have a positive approach to reviews as opposed to cynical approach. I rate items I review based on their price range, compared to similar items I have heard in the price range.
All opinions I express here are my own with no influence from anyone. No one has editorial control or influence over the contents of this review. I do not read or watch reviews of items I intend to review. I make an effort to ensure that I give the reader factual information. I appreciate your feedback.

Note
Please note that I have an eclectic taste in music, and in headphones and earphones, as I do not believe in having multiples of the same sound signature. The fact that they are differently tuned is not an issue for me. What I want to hear is good tuning, if it is tuned with emphasis on bass good, midrange good, highs good.

What I do not want is to be deprived of hearing the various instruments. Excessive mid bass, which drowns out the other parts of the frequency range, but I do want to hear sub-bass, which is occasional in music in any case. I want to hear the midrange, but not to wince when the saxophone blurts out, or a voice shout at me (no matter how good the voice is). I do not want highs which make me want to pull out the earphones from my ears, but I do want to hear the shimmering highs and sparkly notes.

Most of all I want my music to sound realistic and natural, timbrel accuracy and fun but I also want to hear details in the track to which I am listening, like a good set of speakers. I have never understood the term, "guilty pleasure" in relation to bass emphasised. Why guilt because you enjoy bass notes? As I play the guitar, mainly bass, well defined bass is a pleasure to hear, but it is not only the bass quantity the bass quality also matters, hence for me, mid-bass must be controlled, not excessive. I like to hear the other instruments while I play my bass notes

Form, Fit and Finish

Form

The packaging is a simple, but well complemented mid-sized package. The sleeve slips off in a match box style to reveal a chunky inner box, the lid lifts off to a top layer which reveals the IEMs, and a clear plastic box containing foam tips. Underneath that layer is a further layer in which sits the usual Letshouer black textured case, which is very nice. This relatively small but capacious and pocket-able case unzips to show that it contains two more packs of tips, the modular cable with three detachable plugs.

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The silver plated mono-crystalline copper cable is 1.2m in length and seems to be the reliable Letshouer two tone cable I have seen come with other models. Starting from the earpieces with a two pin 0.78mm connectors marked clear (left) and red (right) covered by a black tube which lead to a relatively thick single strand wire on either side covered by a gentle ear guide. The wires go down to join at the splitter covered with a black tube and on top of which is a clear bead slider. After the splitter the two strands are twisted leading down to the plug with as stated are modular thus detachable, giving you, a 3.5mm single-ended, 2,5mm and 4.4mm balanced, plugs. The cable although thick is malleable and flows quite well. It is a pleasure to use.

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The elegant kidney shaped earpieces are made of aluminium alloy, painted in blue as opposed to the grey of the original S12. As with the original S12, there is a chrome accented on the square protrusion on the face of the IEMs, rather like a top quality car with chrome trims. I must say the combination looks quite elegant to me, with the contrasting blue colour. The earpieces are medium sized with an almost flat inner side to the earpieces and quite light, although they brim with good quality.

Fit is comfortable but the shape of the earpieces does not aid isolation a great deal. In short the earpieces do not blot out everything but the isolation is not bad.

My setup for this review
I paired them with Samsung galaxy note 10 Plus, Xiaomi Mi Mix and my Shanling M7 DAP, as my source, and for amplification variably, The HAA FEE HA11, TRI TK2, Fiio BTR5 and BTR7, Shanling UA3 dongle DAC/Amp, DD Hifi TC35C USBC adapter, the Littlebear B4X tube Amp paired with Taotronics Bluetooth DAC, Rod Rain Audio DAC/Amp paired with Xduoo MT604 tube balanced Amp, using mostly 2.5mm and 4.4mm. I used my native music files, Amazon Music HD and Ultra HD, YouTube Music, and UAPP music player.

Synergy
The S12 Pros are not particularly difficult to drive but they benefit from good amount of power. The S12 Pros sounded good but different with various sources, add to that the effect of tips and it best to say take your time and get your preferred sound setup correctly.

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My Mi Mix smart phone powered them without any issue. However, I found that the S12 Pros benefits from a bit of power to pump out the bass, a bit more.. The fact that it gives you good sound from less powerful sources and amplifiers, does not mean that is the best they can do.

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To my ears, the bass boost on the Shanling M7 and Shanling UA3 gave the S12 Pros a subtle but welcome bass lift. I noticed the slightly subdued bass on the BTR7, but beautifully rendered treble, which required a change of tips and a bit more volume for more bass. It is worth remembering that you get the best out of the S12 Pros with more power. Blanket statements declaring that Planar magnetic sets do not pair well with tube amps is a gross generalisation.

The S12 Pros paired beautifully with my Xduoo MT300, hybrid tube amp. On my Littlebear B4X, the treble was incredibly good and the mids forward, but the definition on the bass suffered a little, it was nontheless a pleasant sound but, what you need to remember is that getting the right pairing for you is what is important.

The sound

Sound Generally

In short, the S12 Pros have an absolutely wonderful melodic sound, to my ears. I can only describe the sound signature as U shaped. Sub-bass is subtle but potent depending on the track. The mid-bass is of good quality and well controlled, no excesses. It must be pointed out that the S12 Pros benefit from power to bring out the best in them, particularly the bass.

The midrange is lush with sublime goodness, but are not forward (which for me makes them relaxing) again that also depends on your pairing. The highs are sparkly with great extension but do not get out of line to my ears, no sibilance. Here there is some consistency across amps and DACs, the highs do not change much with power.

The best bit for me is that across the range you get a certain sheen and shimmer on the sound, which I have not heard on many other sets of earphones. with a combination of, resonance (which I use here to denote decay of notes rather than reverberation) timbrel accuracy, note weight and airiness, the S12 Pros presents what I perceive as natural timbre, they also give the perception of openness or air and the wonderful decay of notes. It is particularly noticeable on some tracks, with pianos guitars, and high hats, where you get natural decay to the notes.

I only previously noticed this in the IMR EDP Ace, I put the tone and decay of notes down to the acoustic chamber, it is not reverberation (a note repeating itself) it is the tail of the single note in fractions of seconds. If you play an instrument, you will be aware, that a single note extends well beyond what most care to listen for, it is obvious in a quite place, if you strike just one string, on a guitar and especially a grand piano with its huge acoustic chamber (the huge wooden extension in front of the piano, which opens to reveal the strings).

Low volume listening is good, there was enough detail to recognise the track and particular instruments. The highest volume I got to before my ears could not take much more, was incredible, with speaker-like presentation and no distortion, again I put it down to the combination I mentioned above. The S12 Pros handle busy tracks with ease. I got no congestion at any stage.

Instrument separation, Imaging and Stage
The S12 Pros present beautifully. Clearly it is more evident on some tracks than on others, but when it all comes together, it is pure bliss. Resolution is outstanding but it is not just Planar resolution, I believe it is also about tuning, the particular attention the person or people tuning dedicate to refining the presentation.

Instrument separation is precise and distinct with each instrument piping out clearly. The effect of that is that you get a mental image of the position of each instrument, which then lends to the perception of the stage. The stage is horizontally expansive and delightfully so.

Sound check
You may want to put on your monitors of choice and check out the music using the links below.

Bass

Sub-bass
- The S12 Pros deliver well defined bass, Sub-bass is usually a relic of an initial bass note, and the most visceral from a large drum, often in music, the kick drum and bass guitar but not to forget some horns and voices. The initial impact is clear mid-bass, the relic is a deep bass which is felt rather than heard. If the range of earphones falls short, you have no sub-bass. The S12 Pros extend very well.
Mid-bass - On the other hand mid-bass is very well defined and full. Notes are clearly heard and for someone who plays the bass guitar can be easily distinguished. It is not only a question of boom boom, the bass guitarist is putting together notes at different tempo with interesting phrasing, if the listener cares to appreciate the work going into the music. If not, it is important to the listener that it all hangs together well, melodic and pushes the emotional buttons which draws us to music.

Four80East - 3 Out Of 4:

A gentle track with potent sub-bass, which is a joy to listen to on the S12 Pros. As with every track listen to the note decay on pianos, etc.

Brian Culbertson - Come On Up:

This track has hard hitting bass notes which bring out the on a regular beat. The S12 Pros render the bass very well, displaying traits of a DD.

Mids

The midrange is the least notable part of the of the S12 Pros’ presentation of music. That is not to say it falls short in anyway. Again, it is worth noting that your source and amplification play a part in how your music is presented. However, the presentation is delightful with full voices and instruments. The tuning gives you a soft yet silky presentation.

Millie Jackson - If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right:

Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street:


Treble

The S12 Pros excel in its treble extension to my ears. The treble renders music with such openness but also very good resolution. What you get is shimmering, sparkle of minutia in your music, it just sounds great. As with the bass the treble stands out for the definition, naturalness, and decay of the notes.

Gregg Karukas - Do Whatcha Love:


Listen to the decay on both the high hats and piano.

Olafur Arnalds & Alice Sara Ott - The Chopin Project - Reminiscence:


Comparisons - single Planer Magnetic drivers and hybrids with Planar, at similar prices:


7 Hz Timeless - To my ears, the 7 Hz Timeless have not grabbed my attention as much they did others, I still believe they are good and demonstrate good use of Planar Magnetic drivers, but for melodic presentation, they did not grab my attention.

TRI I3 and I3 Pros: My beloved I3s have been dethrone in my view, they are still good, but lack the resolution and presentation of notes the S12 Pros have. The dynamic drivers on I3s do stand up well against the S12 Pros, Planar Magnetic bass.

The same goes for the IMR EDP and EDP Ace, again like the I3s, the EDPs have been overshadowed by the S12 Pros for me. The EDP Ace however, comes fairly close with its DD bass and the note decay probably aided by piezo, the Planar Magnetic driver, if not the design of the chamber.

The original S12 differs from the S12 Pros, in that the originals seem to have a touch more mid-bass impact, less treble and are slightly more closed in. The effect is to reduce the decay and the speaker-like sound you get from the S12 Pros.

Conclusion
It is extremely difficult to say how engaging the S12 Pros are to my ears. It is not simply a question of pumping loud music at you. It is the quality of the melodic presentation of music. The S12 Pros does good presentation so beautifully. Notes on all instruments sound more complete. In the S12 Pros you can dissect the music, or just relax and immerse yourself in your music, and let the music take you places.

Above all else, the timbrel accuracy, and decay of notes puts the S12 Pros at the top of my list of Planar Magnetic earphones……so far. Do not hold me to it in this fast changing environment.

Enjoy your music!

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I
ivvvyi
thanks for the neutral reviews! also like the music you shared
Yetsman
Yetsman
How did you connect them to your galaxy note 10?
ChrisOc
ChrisOc
@Yetsman, I use the the note 10 as the source of my music connected via USB C or to my DAC/Amps, BTR7, Shanling UA3 dongle, Fiio KA2

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